Victoria Police will pay about $11.8 million to a man who was left permanently paralysed after officers allegedly used excessive force to restrain him.
In a settlement filed with the Supreme Court of Victoria, Chris Karadaglis claimed that he was at his home in November 2017, in Warrnambool in the southwest of the state, when three police officers visited his premises in response to a noise complaint.
It was alleged that police then forcibly removed him from his home.
“He was placed in a headlock by one of the officers with the officer applying increasing force to the plaintiff’s neck,” according to court documents obtained by AAP.
“During the physical restraint of the plaintiff, one or more of the officers applied excessive force to the plaintiff who suffered devastating injury to his cervical spine.”
Karadaglis is now a quadriplegic and claims to have suffered from post-traumatic stress and depression.
He submitted to the court that the police force should pay exemplary damages to “act as a deterrent and to bring home to the defendant that physical restraint of a non-violent offender must be planned and executed in such a way as to avoid foreseeable injury and that police officers must be properly supervised, assessed, monitored, and trained.”
He also called the behaviour of the police “cowardly and brutal” and an “affront to his dignity.”
Victoria Police agreed on Oct. 1 to pay the settlement to Karadaglis, which can be adjusted if he is eligible for support from the National Disability Insurance Agency.
No fault or liability was found on behalf of the officers.
“The terms of the settlement are confidential; therefore, no further comment can be provided,” a police spokesperson told AAP.
Police in the state have been under increased scrutiny in recent months following their enforcement of government-mandated health restrictions in Melbourne at protests.
Several incidents were caught on film showing police applying questionable force and tactics in apprehending protestors, including one incident at Flinders Street Station where a man was grabbed by an officer from behind and slung face-first into the ground. The officer was suspended.